Art is a huge part of what makes Normandy such a popular tourist attraction. While it is overflowing with architectural and artistic heritage, some sites are more prominent than others. For instance, Normandy is known to be the birthplace of Impressionism in painting, primarily because of Claude Monet who spearheaded the movement well into the 19th century. This led many renowned painters, from Edgar Degas to Pierre-Auguste Renoir, to create masterpieces that we know and love today. Many scholars travel to Normandy on student programmes, but, even for a regular tourist, the place is no less enchanting to explore. For young people who want to immerse themselves in what Normandy has to offer, the following destinations must not be missed.
The Port of Le Havre
The city of Le Havre in Upper Normandy was officially recognized as City of Art and History as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its beauty is punctuated by so many historical and artistic landmarks that young learners will need a few days to drink it all in. But if it is art that is the focus, the Port of Le Havre may be the most important destination to visit. Claude Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise”, his painting of the Port of Le Havre, instigated the movement, but he wasn’t the only artist inspired by the city’s scenic view. Theodore Gudin, William Turner, Louis-Philippe Crepin, and many more were all enamoured by Le Havre. And while it is a famous destination for art students on student programmes, the city’s appeal transcends to a diverse array of visitors.
Monet’s Home and Garden in Giverny
Arriving in Giverny in Upper Normandy is like stepping into a painting by Claude Monet. The landscapes draw people in and are simply breath taking. Monet himself was so captivated with Giverny that the first time he saw it through a train window in 1883, he decided on the spot that he wanted to live there. He and his family eventually moved to Giverny, where he painted his famous series of water lilies from his garden. While the original paintings are scattered in different museums around the world, visiting Giverny can offer a much more satisfying experience for fans of Monet. Many young artists on student programmes who want to understand Monet and familiarize themselves with his process visit his home and garden in Giverny, which is open to the public. But the attraction isn’t only for art students and enthusiasts – this majestic site will inspire and enthral even non-artistic visitors.
Bagnoles-de-l’Orne in Lower Normandy
A must-see destination when it comes to exquisite architecture is Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, in Lower Normandy, which flourished after the First World War. The commune has some of the most beautiful villas in France, and anyone who pays a visit will be taken back to the French bourgeoisie era of the early 20th century. Young artists on student programmes who want to learn more about the beginnings of Art Deco should visit the commune. The Roaring Twenties had a big impact on the architectural style of other buildings in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne; by that time, Art Deco was becoming more popular, and this influence can be seen in the Saint Jean-Baptiste Church built in the early 1930s and the Casino du Lac, constructed in 1927.